Canadian Biomass Magazine

Biofuels can play role in reducing CO2 emissions

April 17, 2013
By Scott Jamieson

April 17, 2013, Toronto - According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), biofuel production needs to double to meet carbon reduction targets by 2020.

The IEA released their Tracking Clean Energy Progress report in New Delhi, which detailed the increased role that biofuels will need to play in reducing green house gases (GHG) as part of their Climate Change Scenario by 2020. The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance applauded this finding, stating that biofuels are already significantly reducing global GHG emissions.

According to the report we are currently not on track to meet the IEA’s goal of holding global climate change to a 2°C rise by 2020. According to the IEA’s Energy Sector Carbon Intensity Index (ESCII) our average CO2 emissions have only improved by 0.02 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of oil equivalent in the last 20 years. In order to reach the 2020 target the IEA recommended that annual biofuels production needs to more than double and advanced biofuels capacity must increase six-fold.

“Biofuels are the only real viable option available today to reduce emissions in the transportation sector,” stated Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the GRFA. “We agree with the IEA that biofuels offer real GHG emissions reductions today and that we must increase biofuel usage if we want to mitigate the impacts of climate change,” added Baker.

In order to facilitate this major scale up in global biofuels production, the IEA released some specific recommendations for governments in their report:

  • Lessen the risks for early investors through mechanisms such as loan guarantees, guaranteed premiums for advanced biofuels, or direct financial support for first-of-a-kind investments.
  • Targeted policy support for advanced biofuels is required to ensure large-scale deployment.
  • Monitor sustainability in feedstock production.

“Frankly, the GRFA is not surprised by these findings, despite the commitments from world leaders we are clearly struggling to reduce emissions in the transportation sector,” concluded Baker.

Figures from the GRFA and (S&T)2 Consultants Inc. reveal that world ethanol production in 2012 reduced global GHG emissions by over 100 million tonnes. This equates to taking over 20 million cars off the road.

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